QB Index, Week 8: Five long-shot trade candidates
Quarterback trades have become a thing over the last few years. From Sam Bradford to Alex Smith to Jacoby Brissett and AJ McCarron, the trade tsunami taking over the league has extended to its most important position.
No quarterback trade came as a bigger surprise than the San Francisco 49ers’ deadline deal for Jimmy Garoppolo last season. It was a seismic move that none of the insiders saw coming. Before getting to the Week 8 QB rankings below, let’s take a quick look at some long-shot candidates to get moved before the league’s Oct. 30 deadline (next Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET), with an eye on what could happen to them this offseason.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: There just isn’t a logical trade partner for Carr before the deadline because of his salary, among other factors. Jon Gruden should view the rest of the season as an opportunity to evaluate Carr’s fit in his system. A potential trade in the offseason, when teams have more cap space again and the draft is closer, makes a lot more sense.
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Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals: Arizona makes Bradford inactive every week in order to avoid paying him over $300,000 for every game he’s on the 45-man gameday roster. Bradford’s market in the offseason was strong enough for him to warrant $15 million guaranteed this season, so it’s not that crazy to imagine a team interested in the former No. 1 overall pick for depth or a potential look-see.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This would be the ultimate YOLO trade for the Jaguars — the most logical trade partner for any of these quarterbacks, even if they seem to stubbornly believe that Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler are better options than the field. If nothing else, the short-lived September Fitzmagic should earn this soon-to-be 36-year-old another contract as a free agent this offseason.
Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints: It would be strange for the Saints to deal Bridgewater now, although it was a little strange to give up a third-round pick for Bridgewater back in September during his contract year. New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis recently made it sound like the Saints want to sell Bridgewater on the benefits of staying in New Orleans beyond 2018, but it will be tough to make a competitive offer for Teddy if he hits free agency when Drew Brees is playing so well.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns: The Browns traded Carlos Hyde, a quality veteran starter who was clearly in Cleveland on a one-year rental. Could they do the same with Taylor now that he’s on the bench? And could there be a surprise team — like the Dolphins — willing to take a shot? The 29-year-old is more likely to finally hit free agency in the offseason, where he may wind up being the latest "bridge quarterback for hire," following in the fine tradition of Josh McCown and Fitzpatrick.
NOTE: This is the Quarterback Index. The QBs are ranked based on 2018 play alone. So what’s happened in previous seasons — and what will happen moving forward — doesn’t matter in this exercise. The next ranking of all 32 starters comes after Week 8.
The Ravens called the perfect blitz against the Saints on a number of occasions and Brees still managed to make play after play against the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense, often with a free rusher right in his face.
2018 stats: 6 games | 77.3 pct | 1,870 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 13 pass TD | 0 INT | 9 rush yds | 2 rush TD
Brees narrowly passed Mahomes for the top spot this week, but there is a sizable gap between the two quarterbacks and the rest of the field in my weekly grading.
2018 stats: 7 games | 64.9 pct | 2,223 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 22 pass TD | 5 INT | 120 rush yds | 2 rush TD
Rodgers is once again the No. 1 Cal quarterback on the list. Here’s to hoping that a bye week helped him and the receivers around him get closer to full health with a brutal stretch of games ahead.
2018 stats: 6 games | 61.4 pct | 1,997 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 12 pass TD | 1 INT | 111 rush yds | 0 rush TD
Rivers can surgically cut up defenses with seven-yard passes or he can rely on big plays like he did last week against Tennessee. The image of him asking the London crowd to quiet down, only for them to cheer louder, was the perfect symbol of this franchise, which feels like it plays 16 road games.
2018 stats: 7 games | 69.1 pct | 2,008 pass yds | 9.1 ypa | 17 pass TD | 3 INT
Goff uses play action (39.4 percent) on passes almost 10 percentage points more than any other quarterback, and he’s about to face a Packers defense dead last in yards-per-attempt allowed (13.8) on play action passes.
2018 stats: 7 games | 69.7 pct | 2,130 pass yds | 9.8 ypa | 14 pass TD | 5 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD
Ryan should get more credit for annually overcoming a mediocre Falcons offensive line, something that showed up again on "Monday Night Football."
2018 stats: 7 games | 71.1 pct | 2,335 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 15 pass TD | 2 INT | 67 rush yds | 2 rush TD
Cousins has thrown for 12 touchdowns with no interceptions on passes that have traveled more than 10 air yards, according to Next Gen Stats, making him perhaps the most effective deep ball thrower in football this year.
2018 stats: 7 games | 70 pct | 2,162 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 14 pass TD | 3 INT | 75 rush yds | 1 rush TD
Just when a few of Brady’s teammates get in stride ( Josh Gordon, Trent Brown, Julian Edelman), he is forced to play without a few other key pieces like Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel. It’s just one of those seasons.
2018 stats: 7 games | 68 pct | 1,876 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 16 pass TD | 7 INT | 21 rush yds | 2 rush TD
Luck has been sacked only one time in the last three weeks and is barely running the ball, showing a Peyton Manning-like ability to avoid hits.
2018 stats: 7 games | 65.3 pct | 1,948 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 20 pass TD | 8 INT | 65 rush yds | 0 rush TD
Wentz played perhaps his best three quarters of the year against Carolina before playing one of his worst in the final frame.
2018 stats: 5 games | 70.1 pct | 1,502 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 10 pass TD | 1 INT | 61 rush yds | 0 rush TD
In back-to-back weeks, the Panthers’ offense only got going when it went into hurry-up mode late in the game. Perhaps coordinator Norv Turner will mix in more tempo in the first half against Baltimore this week.
2018 stats: 6 games | 65.6 pct | 1,427 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 11 pass TD | 4 INT | 257 rush yds | 3 rush TD
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll essentially apologized for not running the ball enough in the opening weeks of the season, a sign that Wilson’s fantasy owners shouldn’t expect his pass attempts to climb anytime soon.
2018 stats: 6 games | 64.2 pct | 1,308 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 13 pass TD | 4 INT | 62 rush yds | 0 rush TD
The injury to Tyler Eifert and the lack of impact from John Ross has made the Bengals’ passing attack too predictable the last two weeks, failing to top 300 yards against struggling defenses.
2018 stats: 7 games | 63.6 pct | 1,822 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT
Pro Football Focus has Big Ben ranked No. 33 at the position. While that feels too low, this is the rare year that Ben’s traditional numbers are superior to his play, with him getting away with a lot of missed throws and poor decisions.
2018 stats: 6 games | 65.1 pct | 2,033 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 12 pass TD | 6 INT | 38 rush yds | 1 rush TD
Stafford wasn’t ranked in the top 25 in my grading system after three weeks this season. He’s been top-five over the last three.
2018 stats: 6 games | 61.6 pct | 1,602 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 12 pass TD | 5 INT
Gregg Rosenthal appears weekly on the award-winning Around The NFL Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @greggrosenthal.
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